Improve jobs that are difficult and disliked in order to increase productivity.
In every enterprise there are bottleneck operations that are particularly difficult and therefore disliked by workers. Special effort is needed to improve these bottlenecks.
Until recently, it was assumed that job characteristics were predetermined by technical and economic requirements. However, it is today possible to design better jobs by using more up-to-date technologies and improved work organization.There is good scope for defeating difficult and monotonous jobs.
By improving difficult jobs, it becomes easier to assign jobs, rotate workers and make effective production plans.
RISKS / SYMPTOMS
• poor communication
• excessive fatigue
• lack of acceptance
• increased injury or illness rates
• poor worker health
1. Examine the jobs within the enterprise that are considered to be difficult.Typical examples of such jobs are:
– physically demanding tasks, such as manual handling of heavy materials;
– work exposed to excessive heat, cold, dust,noise or other hazardous agents;
– jobs that are often performed in irregular working hours such as frequent night shifts;
– repetitive work that is fragmented, boring and isolated;
– jobs requiring little skill with only limited career possibilities;
– skilled but arduous jobs that are stressful and fatigue workers.
2. Mechanize difficult tasks but avoid jobs resulting in machine-paced or monotonous tasks.
3. Improve equipment and sequence of work to make the job easier and more responsible.
4. Combine tasks (e.g. to constitute a job performing a sequence of assembly tasks) so as to have a longer cycle time.
5. Make the job less machine-paced or conveyorpaced (e.g. by having both upstream and downstream buffer stocks – unfinished workpieces– of unfinished products which allow the worker to pause or change the pace of work).
6. Add more responsible tasks such as inspection,maintenance and repair.
7. Promote multi-skilled jobs and sharing of jobs to avoid concentrating difficult jobs on a small number of workers.
SOME MORE HINTS
A very flexible way of improving job content is group work.This makes it possible to overlap skills and share difficult work.
Elimination of difficult jobs must also be planned by involving workers.Group discussion of the change process is indispensable.
Emphasize that the reduction of difficult jobs not only reduces occupational stress and ill-effects, but also facilitates better use of skills and improves career prospects.The benefits will include a more productive enterprise.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
As there are no simple solutions to the problems of difficult jobs, take advantage of suggestions from both managers and workers. Improvement is usually needed in equipment and work methods, as well as in work organization.